Some of you are expecting to see me at the Library Journal/Temple University symposium, Bridging the Gaps, at the end of next week. Unfortunately, I will not be there. There’s a simple reason why: I over-extended myself.
I was so eager to be part of a conversation — to help shape it, to direct it in ways that I thought were smart — that when Josh Hadro called to invite me to participate, I said yes, even as I did the mental math of realizing that it would fall close on the heels of my trip to New Zealand. I continued through the planning process, a bit uneasy by how close they fell, but repeating my standard mantra: “I’ll make it work.”
I can’t make it work. Traveling is hard on a body, and though I don’t make it part of my professional discussion, my body is in mid-stream of dealing with a joint pain issue. I was overoptimistic about how well I could deal with that while traveling halfway around the world. Stress makes it worse. In short, rather than make myself more physically unwell while simultaneously mentally exhausting myself with worry, I have withdrawn from the symposium. I’m sorry to do it, and also ashamed that I put myself in a position that I could not then follow through on, but I know it was the right thing for me to do for my own wellness. I can’t exhort others to find work/life balance, take care of themselves, and make their own needs a priority if I fail to do it for myself. (Hypocrisy is low on the list of things I strive for. Much as I hate failing to live up to expectations, I’d rather do that than be a hypocrite.)
I have faith, though, that Steven Bell and Josh Hadro will cover over my absence smoothly — there are many others who can do what I was going to do — and so the panelists will adjust as necessary. I expect to hear that it was a great day of discussion, debate, and thought-provoking commentary from a fascinating spectrum of librarians. Please, go, if you are able — last I’d heard, they have 20ish seats left, and you don’t want to miss the chance to be part of the thought exercise of considering our professional gaps, and how we prevent them from becoming chasms.
Be there. And be well.